Pain in your chest can be described as squeezing or crushing, as well as a burning sensation. There are many types of chest pain and many possible causes, some of which aren’t considered serious. Chest pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack. If you believe you’re having chest pain related to a heart attack, you should call 911 and get immediate medical attention.
Vomiting is the forceful discharge of your stomach contents through the mouth. Nausea or stomach upset typically occurs before a person vomits.
Here’s what you need to know about experiencing these two symptoms together:
The following are possible causes of chest pain and vomiting:
Abdominal and digestive causes:
Seek immediate medical help if you think a heart attack is causing your chest pain and vomiting. Call 911 or local emergency services if you experience those symptoms along with:
- shortness of breath
- chest discomfort with pain radiating to the jaw
- chest discomfort that radiates to one arm or the shoulders
See your doctor within two days if your vomiting doesn’t subside or if it’s severe and you can’t keep fluids down after one day. You should also see your doctor immediately if you’re vomiting blood, especially if it’s accompanied by dizziness or breathing changes.
You should always seek medical attention if you’re concerned you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
If you’re experiencing chest pain and vomiting, your doctor will start by performing a physical exam. They’ll also review your medical history and ask you about any additional symptoms you may be experiencing.
Tests that may be used to help determine a diagnosis include a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).
Treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms. For instance, if you’re diagnosed with a heart attack, you may need immediate intervention to reopen a blocked blood vessel or open-heart surgery to reroute blood flow.
Your doctor can prescribe medications to stop vomiting and nausea, such as ondansetron (Zofran) and promethazine.
Antacids or medications to reduce the stomach’s acid production can treat the symptoms of acid reflux.
Your doctor may also prescribe anti-anxiety medications if your symptoms are related to an anxiety condition such as panic disorder or agoraphobia.
You can lose a significant amount of fluids when vomiting, so drink small sips of clear fluids periodically to avoid dehydration. You can also check out our tips for stopping nausea and vomiting in its tracks.
Resting may help to lessen chest pain. If it’s related to anxiety, taking deep breaths and having coping mechanisms available can help. These remedies may also help, if the situation isn’t an emergency. However, you should always check with your doctor before treating your chest pain at home. They can help you determine if you need emergency care.
You can’t typically prevent chest pain and vomiting, but you can lower your risk for some of the conditions that may cause these symptoms. For instance, eating a low-fat diet can reduce your risk of experiencing symptoms related to gallstones. Practicing healthy habits, such as exercising and avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke, can reduce your risk of a heart attack.